A Cup of Trembling
A small spark in Jerusalem has led to wider conflict. Again. This time, it started with a dispute among Palestinians in a Jerusalem neighborhood refusing to pay rent to Israeli landlords. That escalated into protests which Israeli police tried to control. Taking advantage of the unrest, Hamas, the militant group which rules neighboring Palestinian Gaza, began firing rockets into Israel. The conflict now has the world's attention, and Israel is not seeking an immediate end to hostilities. It wants to destroy Hamas's ability to wage war.
In his latest commentary, Beyond Today writer Mr. Darris McNeely reminds us to pay attention this ages-old conflict. "Rockets falling on Israel," he says, "has been common in the past...but there is always the prospect of a larger war erupting. The neighborhood of the Middle East is volatile and unpredictable. Peace is always tenuous, a fragile hope."
That such a small spark started the current fighting reveals the hatred always simmering just below the surface. The animosity between the Israelis and Palestinians dates not only to the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948. No, this is a family feud that goes back millennia to the two sons of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac. Born of the same father but different mothers, Ishmael and his mother Hagar were forced to leave Abraham's household. Ishmael's envy and rivalry toward his half-brother carried down through the centuries and it disrupts the Middle East today.
The problem will not end with any brokered peace deal. Many have tried, but the conflict never goes away for good. Eventually, Israel, and especially Jerusalem, will be the center point of worldwide war. Through His prophet Zechariah, God said, "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about" (Zechariah 12:2).
Peace will only come when the descendants of the ancient brothers unite under one King. That King is coming, and He will cause the ancient feuding to cease forever. We do not know when that will be, but we know that it will not be much longer. For that King Himself says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Therefore, let us always pray, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20)! Keep looking for the only real solution to the conflict in the Middle East, the King of peace!